Kemo The Blaxican
The soulful style and hard-hitting beats grab you first. Then you hear the smooth-yet-powerful baritone vocals deliver with a distinctive tone. You recognize the voice as it commands attention with provocative lyrics over the flavorful track. This MC shifts the rhyme from English to Spanish, and then back to English again seamlessly. Your head nods the whole way through and it doesn’t matter if you can’t understand the Spanish parts. Then it hits you…the voice and trademark rhyme-flow belongs to none other than “Kemo The Blaxican,” former member of urban-Latin hip hop pioneers, “Delinquent Habits".His new CD, Upside of Struggle, is series of hip hop tracks inspired by his roots; specifically southern California culture and the music that influenced his youth—from west coast funk, soul, and classic hip hop, to traditional Latin music. The album also features guest appearances by Sen Dog (Cypress Hill) and Tetsuya Weeping Willow Nakamura (formerly of War) on the track“Just What You Feelin,” as well as contributions by Sick Jacken (Psycho Realm) on the álbum. New York, 2004 Delinquent Habits was formed in 1991, the group itself originally consisted of two MCs, Ives ("El Guero Loco") and Kemo, and O.G. Style as the DJ and producer. Thus the group was often called "Los Tres Delinquentes" (In English: "The Three Delinquents"). Their first album was executive-produced by Cypress Hill member Sen Dog and featured guest appearances by Sen himself as well as Puerto Rican New York City rapper Hurricane G. The Delinquents soon struck gold with their hit 1996 single "Tres Delinquentes". The song sold over one million copies around the globe, nearly pushing their self-titled album to the same figure. The success of the song and album landed the Delinquents a spot on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and tours with such talents as Korn and Ice T. The group toured around the globe in such locations as the U.K., South America, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan. Being the only fluent member of Spanish the group, Kemo was known for his flawless bilingual transitions. After twelve years of success and the completion of their fourth album, Freedom Band in 2004, The Blaxican decided to pursue a solo career, in which he has been having some substantial success. Solo Career After leaving the group, he recorded the self-produced album Simple Plan in 2004. It was released on his own label, Dead Silence Records. One of his more successful songs, "La Receta" was included the film 10 Items or Less staring the talents of Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega. Similar to some of his previous work, the song tastefully blended a Sonora-styled horn riff with the urban sound of Hip-Hop with multi-lingual lyrics. The same year as his debut album, Kemo teamed up with Sick Jacken of the Psycho Realm on a collaborative effort to appear on the Spanish hip-hop compilation "Imperial Latino" by Profeta Records. The album also featured a track of Kemo's titled "No Que No". Along with releasing a second album, titled Not So Rich & Famous, Kemo currently runs his own clothing line, "Joint Clothing". When asked about his musical goal, Kemo states: I want to make a hard-hitting bilingual album for the local hip-hop community and for people worldwide. Latinos have been a cornerstone of hip-hop from day one, and I'm proud to be a part of that lineage. ” In fact, Kemo is well-known for making collaborative efforts with other Latino artists to help the Latino community find its place in Hip-hop as Latino artists often do not receive the amount of attention they deserve from record labels. Kemo often cites that Latino rap has become more of a novelty and that the Latino rappers are forced to rap in Spanish for mainstream success: I [have] noticed that the trend is for Latin record companies to be supporting rap in Español, noticed it more than ever before. When we first dropped our record [in 1996], we were considered Latin hip-hop, now there are a lot of sub categories...I still feel that just hip-hop made by Latinos is still somewhat kind of being somewhat neglected, we aren't quite getting the attention we need to. I don't feel like we have to flip our songs in Spanish only to get the labels to pump money into us, what needs to happen is the music needs to be nurtured, that needs to be the case with English or Spanish or bilingual records.I say that in full support of all that additional love we are getting, that can only be good, however I feel that Latinos that are still putting music out in English, if its quality I think the labels should back it up, but the labels are dropping the ball. I'm trying to level the playing field for all of us. Truth is, we're grinding every day just like any other hip hop artist...I'm not tripping on it, I made like 7 Spanish songs on my record, but I didn't do it for that reason (to increase sales). What about the cat that's not writing in Spanish but he's a dope MC?...I think that's all bull, man. I think good music is good music regardless. I've read that we are the number one consumers of hip hop music, and many of these stations, here in L.A., how many Latinos you hear spun on the radio?